Some people are reluctant to call him “Ace.” “He’s too young. “He’s too wild.” “He’s too inexperienced.” Every year, we have seen Clayton Kershaw progress, mature, grow and develop. One of the first and probably the
smartest thing Don Mattingly did when he started Spring Training was to name Clayton as the Dodgers Opening Day Starter. That gave Clayton about six weeks to prepare, but it’s pretty heady stuff for a recently turned 23 year-old. But not Clayton Kershaw. He proved Mattingly’s trust in his was well-founded by throwing 7 innings of 4 hit, 9 strikeout (1 BB) dominant baseball. He was certainly better than Lincecum, but Clayton didn’t have his “mid-season stuff.” I’ve seen him with better stuff, but I haven’t seen him be a better pitcher. Clayton again played the role as “Giant Killer” last night – something that could set the theme for the season.
Peter Gammons and a few others have picked him as the Cy Young winner this year. That’s a hard prediction to make, but I will say that he is certainly on the “short list” of players who can win it. If you are still reluctant to call him “Ace,” how would you feel to call him “Cy?” The Dodgers are rapidly becoming Clayton Kershaw’s Team. You can see him begin taking the reins as the team leader. This isn’t an overnight process but his demeanor, confidence and performance already has elevated him to “leader status.” Pretty soon, the sportswriters will be calling it “Clayton Kershaw and the LA Dodgers.”
Rants & Raves
- He is visibly slimmer, obviously quicker and apparently more patient about chasing bad pitches. Matt Kemp walked three times and singled, and was on base every time last night. Oh, and he scored both runs. I expect a monster season from Matt.
- James Loney quietly played a key role in getting a clutch hit and making some tough plays.
- If you think I am going to rag on J-Brox because he gave up a HR which blew the shutout, you are wrong! I actually was more pleased with Jon that I have been in a long time. Someone has been in his ear about how long it takes him between pitches. He got the ball back and was ready to throw it as soon as he got it. His velocity was up to 99 (which is good for this early) and he threw a lot of pitches other than his trademark fastball. Jon looked more like a pitcher and less like a thrower last night. Even after Burrel’s HR, he still looked confident. I see hope!
- Tonight C-Bill can stick the dagger in a little deeper and push the Giants to 2-games out!